Jan 13, 2009

Nancy-Bird Walton

Nancy-Bird Walton

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

January 13 2009

As the Australian Aviation Minister, I pay tribute to the life of pioneering Australian aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton, who died today in Sydney, and express my sincere condolences to her family.

Nancy-Bird’s leadership and determination have inspired many young women to follow in her footsteps and become pilots.

Thanks to Nancy-Bird’s achievements, we no longer hear remarks such as those made by a minister in the 1930s who claimed flying was not "biologically suited" to women.

But Nancy-Birds contribution goes much further. She is one of a handful of aviators – men and women – who have shaped and driven the development of the Australian aviation industry over the past century.

I had the great honour of meeting Nancy-Bird last year at the launch of Qantas’ new A380 and seeing the excitement on her face as the aircraft was formally named after her.

It was most fitting that these two Australian icons joined forces to help take the aviation industry into a new era.

Theres a saying in the aviation community: ‘the engine is the heart of the aeroplane, but the pilot is its soul’. No person embodied that sentiment more than Nancy-Bird.